For the first time in four and half a years, I don’t have a festival wristband on my wrist. I cut it off like a baby and its umbilical cord – still kinda attached, but also excited for the big wide world ahead.
With my newly naked joint and an excitement for Glasto this June, I started getting all nostalgic. At my first festival, V Festival 2011 (don’t judge me), me and Holly got piss thrown on our faces in the crowd (which turned out to be the first piss cup to the head of many), we put vodka in capri sun pouches and shoved them down our wellies and we brought a cooking stove because we thought that’s what people took to festivals (well, it’s what my mum thought people took to festivals and in that case we had to make it a packing essential). Really, we didn’t need a cooking stove and taking tequila shots with strangers and riding the Ferris wheel til we vommed was way more important. (I’m conveniently leaving out the part where those tequila giving strangers real intention may or may not have been to rob from our tents whilst we slept).
What I learnt from my first festival:
- You don’t need to bring bacon or a cooking stove
or your kitchen sink with you. A cereal bar will suffice.
- No one will give you free tequila without an ulterior motive.
- Don’t mistake the water bottle filled with vodka for actual
water when brushing your teeth. Trust me.
- A four man tent is actually a two man tent ’cause your
backpack (and cooking stove) takes up a lot of room.
- Do bring more glitter with you than you think you’ll originally need.
The following summer, myself and Kath discovered volunteering. Festaff became our best friend, and despite a killer nightshift, it was the best thing we’ve ever unearthed.
Why working at a festival is better than being a punter:
- Showers. Showers showers showers. Cleanliness shampoo and shower jel.
- Secret entrances into the arena where they don’t check bags or pat you down for anything can shaped hidden in your coat pockets/sleeves/waistband/everywhere.
- Discounted drunken chips.
- You can see all the bands you were going to pay to see for a fraction of the price.
- Less concentrated campsites, this lessens the chance of someone setting fire to/falling into your tent.
A couple years ago I went my first foreign fest, jetting off from Luton to Benicassim Festival in España. I never realised what I was missing from festivals before going to this, it was, and probably still stands as, the best week of my life.
Why festivals abroad are slightly more charming than English fests:
- Sun + sea + music = ideal.
- Music doesn’t start until about 7pm. Not only do you get an entire day at the beach but you can dance whilst the sunsets and rises. It’s kinda magical.
- Spanish booze is 100% cheaper than English booze. Don Simon Sangria was running through my blood for at least a week after my return from Beni.
- You can shower with a hose for a nozzle with approx. 13 other brits abroad.
- No rain. Not even a drizzle.
Festivals have provided me with more stories than I can recollect (literally, the only reason I can remember some occasions is because there is picture proof).
My favourite memories from festivals that I can’t actually remember:
- Apparently going into the arena at Download Festival after Alice passed out at 8pm. The morning after conversation: “Did you guys go see any bands?” “Nah we didn’t, we stayed here” “Eliza, we were in the arena for 2 and 1/2 hours” “Oh shit”.
- Getting with a random guy for the entirety of Beyonce’s set at V Festival only to stop when she sang ‘Single Ladies’ (to prove to him I wasn’t one of the those clingy gals).
- Seeing Arctic Monkeys at Bencassim, during which Anna pissed in a cup and Ella threw it (all over the person behind us as she tried to launch the cup forward).
- Blink 182 at Leeds fest. I remember it being the best night of my life, but I’m not quite sure why.
- Taking 15 cans of cider in one backpack into the arena and happy crying in Kath’s arms whilst watching The Killers sing Mr Brightside.